Dec 20, 2013

Hawkish but helpful: When cultural group selection favors within-group aggression

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ben Hanowell

Abstract

The origin of cooperation is a central problem in evolutionary biology and social science. Cultural group selection and parochial altruism are popular but controversial evolutionary explanations for large-scale cooperation. Proponents of the cultural group selection hypothesis argue that the human tendency to conform—a consequence of our reliance on social learning—maintained sufficient between-group variation to allow group selection (which favors altruism) to overpower individual selection (which favors selfishness), whereupon large-scale altruism could emerge. Proponents of the parochial altruism hypothesis argue that altruism could emerge in tandem with hostility toward other groups if the combination of the two traits increased success in inter-group contests. Proponents of both hypotheses assume that cooperation is altruistic and that within-group conflict is antithetical to cooperation, implying that group selection for cooperation reduces within-group conflict. Yet within-group conflict need not be antithetical to cooperation. This essay uses a mathematical model to show that selection between groups can lead to greater within-group aggression if within-group aggression enhances the value of individually costly public g...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Tandem
Violence
Laboratory Culture
Learning
Social Policy
Evolution, Molecular
EAF2 gene

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